In a game which the USWNT dominated from start to finish, the U.S. started its fan celebration tour in style, thoroughly defeating Costa Rica 8-0.
Here are three thoughts from the match.
The U.S. played some gorgeous soccer
One of the best parts of the afternoon was not necessarily that the U.S. won, or that they managed to score eight goals. How they scored those eight goals was what was particularly impressive.
Megan Rapinoe tallied twice, first on a free-kick that deflected off the wall and then right before the half on a blast that the Costa Rican keeper couldn’t quite handle.
Abby Wambach, playing in front of her hometown friends and family, scored twice, both on headers. The first came in the 24th minute as Rachel Buehler burst down the left side before feathering in a perfect service that Wambach powered home. The second came on a corner in the 31st minute on a service from Megan Rapinoe.
Alex Morgan got on the board in the 38th minute as she fired home a shot after outmuscling a Costa Rican defender to create the open chance for herself.
In the second half, Sydney Leroux once again put on a display of her power and pace as she outran and outmuscled a Costa Rican defender to get on the end of an Alex Morgan through ball before cooling finishing the chance.
Late in the match, Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly got into the action as Lloyd scored on a nicely taken free kick and O’Reilly, through her typically great work rate, got on the end of a Sydney Leroux service to finish into an open net.
The USWNT needs a new coach
Shortly before the game, head coach Pia Sundhage, who has coached the U.S. to two Olympic gold medals and a runner-up finish at the 2011 World Cup, spoke with the team about her decision to step down.
In the post-game interview, Sundhage spoke of her desire to “go home” and coach the national team of her home country Sweden.
It’s important for USWNT fans to recognize everything that Pia has done for the team and the great spirit she has fostered. It is also worth remembering that Pia took over the USWNT while it was in a mini-crisis following the team’s disappointing performance at the 2007 World Cup.
Thank you, Pia.
Everyone had fun, didn’t they?
Of course, in an 8-0 win, it’s hard not to have fun.
However, with Sundhage’s announcement that she was stepping down, it could have been a much more somber atmosphere and/or performance from the team.
But, the players showed no signs of being unfocused or that they hadn’t played in several weeks. The team put on a display of world-class skill and looked like they were having a ball doing it.
It was also obvious throughout the match how much the fans in Rochester were into the game and how much the fans were enjoying watching their heroes.
In addition to hometown hero, Abby Wambach, having a brace, there was even one moment in the match when one fan could clearly be heard shouting, “RAPINOE!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!”
Great fun, indeed.
John D. Halloran